Friday, December 25, 2015

merry christmas everyone

This year for Christmas I felt like getting out the tub of decorations I hung on to when we moved.  Sister Suzy mentioned this is the first time in a while I have shown any interest in Christmas or that she has had any desire either.  We discussed the toll stress has on one's enthusiasm for life.

I rummaged around in the back of a closet and found my monster tree (all two feet of it).  Sister Suzy mentioned the tree would look a whole lot better if it had lights on it.  I agreed.  So, I did a little research on how long a string I would need.  The experts on the tube say 50 lights per foot of tree!  I do not want to catch the tree on fire! Nor do I want to be blinded by the light!  Well, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby were both advertising short strings for craft projects.  We went for a look-see and I found a 35-light string that was nine-n-half feet long.  That ought to be plenty.  And, it was.  Sure makes the tree look a lot nicer!
I dug out my Greek-cookbook I picked up way back in the dark ages to do some Christmas baking.  Once a year the Greek Orthodox Churches in Wichita have a fundraiser where they make Greek pastries and such.  Dad worked with a gentleman out at the Air Patch who was Greek Orthodox.  He mentioned the bake sale to Dad, Dad mentioned it to Mom, so off we went to the bake sale.  We were hooked.  One year they had cookbooks for sale.  This cookbook is one of those collections where a plea is sent out to the parents and congregation for recipes.  The Book is called Hellenic Cuisine.  It was copyrighted in 1957 and my book is the 36th printing in 1986.  The cookbook even has a recipe for Communion bread called Prosphoron in it.  The symbols that should be stamped on it, the meanings of the symbols and how it is to be portioned.

One of my favorite recipes out of the book is Almond Roll.  I had forgot how wonderful these were!  These taste better the second day, if they last that long!  I never make a full recipe.  I can get four rolls and 28 to 32 servings with this half recipe.

Almond Rolls

1/2 pound of filo/phyllo pastry

1 pound of almonds

3/4 pound of UN-salted butter, melted

3 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

2 oz whiskey/rum


1 cup honey

Juice of half a lemon

The recipe calls for blanched almonds.  I do not bother.  Grind your almond fairly fine, a few chunks are okay in your food processor.

Beat egg whites stiff.  In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy and the sugar is dissolved.  Alternating, fold in, the almonds and the egg whites until blended.  Then add the liquor.  I prefer rum to whiskey and I think if you had some Amaretto that would be good too.

Lay a filo/phyllo pastry sheet down and use a pastry brush to butter the sheet.  Repeat the buttering of each sheet until you have about a quarter of the stack of pastry sheets buttered and stacked on top of each other.  Should be four to five sheets.  Pour a quarter of the batter at one end of the stack and spread it towards the middle.  The batter will cover about 1/4 to a 1/3 of the stack.  Roll up jell-roll style; turn under the ends and place in a buttered jellyroll pan, seam-side down.

Repeat with the rest of the sheets and mixture.  While working with one roll be sure and cover the rest of the pastry sheets with a damp cloth or paper towels to keep the pastry sheets from drying out.  Otherwise, you will have a disappointing mess on your hands.

The directions say pour the leftover butter from brushing your pastry sheets over the rolls.  I do not, because I am pretty liberal as I am brushing the pastry sheets.  The butter will bake out and then be reabsorbed towards the end of the baking.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I usually bake until golden brown and in my oven that is an extra 10 minutes.

While the almond rolls are baking put your honey and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring to keep from scorching.  Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and set aside.  Drizzle about half of the honey syrup over the hot pastry rolls.  The instruction say to cut immediately but I have better luck waiting until the pastry rolls cool and then cut.  I turn the slices on their sides and drizzle the rest of the honey syrup over the cut slices to soak in.  I get 7 to 8 slices per roll.  I store them in the refrigerator.

For the other half pound of filo/phyllo pastry, I make Baklava.  I use a combination of walnuts and almonds with cinnamon and cloves and the same honey syrup.  But, that will be for another day!

I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas!



  1. Good grief, your post is dated Christmas Day. Has it been that long since I've visited?!

    I love Greed cooking and especially Greek desserts. I've never made this though, because I assume the filo would be a bit fiddly.

  2. Filo can be a bit fiddly if you don't keep it covered and it starts to dry out. If you want a real adventure there is a recipe in the book for making your own filo. but even they recommend you buy it.

    Good to hear from you.


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